Best charcoal BBQ 2024 - the top 5 for authentic flame-grilled flavour, tested by the Ideal Home team

These are the best charcoal BBQs for this summer to make outdoor dining as tasty as possible

Three of the best charcoal BBQs on a pink and blue background
(Image credit: Future/Weber/Char-Broil)
Best charcoal bbqs 2024: Jump Menu

The list in brief ↴
1.
Best overall: Weber Original Kettle
2. Best under £100: Weber Smokey Joe
3. Best large: Char-Broil L
4. Best tabletop: Everdure Cube
5. Best BBQ & fire pit: Wave Hex BBQ
How we tested FAQs

What could be better for getting that classic chargrilled taste this summer than one of the best charcoal BBQs? With these grills, your alfresco cooking situation will get a serious upgrade, and while our best BBQs list has every type of fuel covered, we think that it's a charcoal BBQ that gives you the real deal when it comes to flavour and cooking control.

We've tried a range of top-rated charcoal BBQs, from family-sized grills to portable tabletop grills. Each of them has specialist features to help in your outdoor cooking process, whether that's extra large grates or surfaces where you can quickly prep food.

As with our round up of the best gas BBQs, all of the brand names you'd expect to find are below, including various picks from Weber and Char-Broil, along with a few versatile choices, including a 2-in-1 charcoal BBQ and fire pit combo. So settle in and enjoy our tried and tested favourites, each of which will leave your garden guests happy (and full!) this summer.

Best charcoal BBQ - the quick list

Best charcoal BBQ overall

Weber Original Kettle BBQ in cutout imageproduct badge

(Image credit: Weber)
Best charocal BBQ overall

Specifications

Cooking area (diameter): 47cm
Weight : 13kg

Reasons to buy

+
Also available in a larger size
+
Iconic BBQ brand
+
Cleaning system for easy ash removal
+
Simple but effective charcoal barbecue
+
Lid and cooking grate can be hooked to side of barbecue

Reasons to avoid

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Too small for larger families
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Can take time to master the skills of expertly cooking food over charcoal

When we think of charcoal BBQs here at Ideal Home, our minds go straight to the Weber Original Kettle, which is as much an affordable product as it is a quality one. The type of kettle grill style was made popular by Weber way back in 1952, and quickly became a staple in the US.

But this classic grill would be equally at home here in a UK garden, with a practical design that has a space to store everything neatly onboard, as well as a big enough grate to cater to a family. And if the Original Kettle E4710 isn't big enough, you can always size up in the range.

Our expert tester thinks that this is simply the ideal choice for 2 to 4 people, and an elite entry-level option if you're new to charcoal grilling outside of disposal BBQs. The set up couldn't be easier, and our reviewer had great success cooking vegetable skewers, halloumi, sausages, veg, and roasting an entire chicken with plenty of room to spare. The process for removing ash is also made easy thanks to the design, and if you've ever encountered someone who owns a Weber Kettle, you'll know they last in a garden for an absolute age.

Our Weber Original Kettle review has the full details.

Best charcoal bbq under £100

Weber Smokey Joe portableproduct badge

(Image credit: Weber)
Best charcoal BBQ under £100

Specifications

Cooking area (diameter): 35cm
Weight : 4.27kg
RRP: £80.00

Reasons to buy

+
Short legs raise it off the ground
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Excellent quality
+
Spacious cooking grate for its size
+
Easy to assemble

Reasons to avoid

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A bit too big to be portable

A BBQ under £100 can save you from the perils (and the environmental impacts) of disposable BBQs for good, and we can't think of a better one than the Weber Smokey Joe. It's a more compact version of the Original Kettle, and certain models come equipped with carry handles too, to allow you to take this grill to the beach or the park on a day trip.

Even though it's super compact, the size of the cooking grate with this BBQ might surprise you, with enough space for our reviewer to grill up plenty of sausages on it, as well as ample skwers and chicken thighs. As with the Original Kettle, the cooking capability with this BBQ is excellent, and you can cook with direct and indirect heat easily.

Our Weber Smokey Joe BBQ review has the full details.

Best large charcoal BBQ

Char-Broil L BBQproduct badge

(Image credit: Char-Broil)
Best large charcoal BBQ

Specifications

Cooking area: 70 x 49.5cm
Weight: 44.5kg

Reasons to buy

+
Roomy cooking grate
+
Side and front shelves
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Charcoal can be raised or lowered mid-cook
+
Sturdy lid with built in thermometer
+
Optional smoker accessory

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive
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Narrow charcoal grate

This BBQ is not only a great large charcoal choice, but can also double up as the best charcoal BBQ and smoker if that's what you're looking for, with the option to add an attachment.

Our expert reviewer thinks this is the charcoal BBQ to get your hands on if you want to host big outdoor soirees this summer, thanks to the huge grill size and the extra space for food prep, as well as storage. Though it's a little unwieldy, our tester found it was actually pretty straightforward to fit together, and she completed the assembly by herself in 50 minutes.

The small features, such as the built-in thermometer and the adjustable chimney go a long way into making this feel like a quality BBQ, and the charcoal grate itself can be adjusted for precise cooking. During one test, our reviewer cooked 4 corn on the cobs, 4 vegetable skewers, 4 chicken breasts and a whole block of halloumi at once, and found there was still plenty of space left over. It's also an easy BBQ to clean, and therefore will do just the trick if you want to entertain a crowd this summer.

Our Char-Broil Charcoal L BBQ review has the full details.

Best tabletop charcoal BBQ

Everdure Cube BBQ in black with white lid and bamboo lidproduct badge

(Image credit: Everdure by Heston Blumenthal)
The best tabletop charcoal BBQ

Specifications

Cooking area (diameter): 670cm2
Weight: 8.1kg

Reasons to buy

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Available in a range of colours
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Easy to transport
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Compact and easy to store
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Complete with storage lid and chopping board
+
Great for small gardens
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You can use it to directly cook or indirectly cook food

Reasons to avoid

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No lid for use when cooking
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Not the easiest to keep clean
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Can't be left outside all of the time

The Everdure Cube, much like its sister BBQ the Everdure Force, has a design which will wow you, with every tiny detail thought out wonderfully. This compact tabletop BBQ is an all-in-one delight, with a bamboo prep board, a food storage tray and a grate that can fit up to 6 small burgers at a time.

During testing, we found that the Cube retained heat exceptionally well and can be used for quite a few hours at a time, meaning that even though it's a tabletop design, it can cater to a fair few people. Every time our tester used it, she found that it was still hot 3 hours after lighting it. If you're sitting outside for the evening, that makes it a great ad-hoc heat source!

You can't smoke with the Cube and there isn't a lid that you can pop on the BBQ while it's hot, which some might find limiting. You also can't store it outside, and in the rainy British weather, this did pose some problems to our tester. On the whole though, this is a solidly stylish, reliable little BBQ that will make tabletop grilling easy.

Our Everdure Cube review has the full details.

Best charcoal BBQ and fire pit

Wave Hex 2 in 1 BBQ and Fire Pitproduct badge

(Image credit: Wave)
Best charcoal BBQ and fire pit combo

Specifications

Cooking area: 36cm
Weight: 30kg

Reasons to buy

+
Slim flatpack design slots neatly into cars, campervans and caravans
+
Very sturdy parts
+
Large cooking grate
+
Carry case included
+
Ideal height for camping chairs

Reasons to avoid

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Can take a while to cool down
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Too heavy to walk very far with
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Tricky to move around once assembled

Those who love camping, and caravaning or are simply looking to double up on a BBQ and fire pit combo will love the functionality of the Wave, which has a slim design to make it easy to travel with and space for two people to enjoy an outdoor meal. It features a large cooking grate and is the perfect height for those who want to warm themselves in their camping chairs around a fire pit.

Our tester found it could fit four burgers comfortably and tried lamb chops, halloumi and a range of chargrilled veg on the surface too. She thought the results were great and loved the added extra of the built-in bottle opener.

On the whole, this is a space-saving wonder if you usually spend your summers on the go. It's a great extra to cram into your car or caravan, and the fire pit element makes it a worthwhile buy too. Though it's not ideal for the park or the beach, you'll definitely be grateful for giving it a spot in your car when you pack for your holidays.

Our Wave Hex BBQ review has the full details.

How we tested these charcoal BBQs

We tested all of these charcoal BBQs following our in-house testing protocol. We have particular guidelines as to how we test BBQs, including standardising the foods we use and applying the same methodology across tests. All of these BBQs were either tested by our in-house reviewers or by our expert freelancer and home economist Helen McCue.

FAQs

How to buy the best charcoal BBQ for you

Why you can trust Ideal Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

If you're picking out a charcoal BBQ, then you probably already know it's likely to be a high-effort investment. You'll need to be prepared to know how to light a charcoal BBQ and you'll want to invest in some high-quality charcoal too, as it makes all the difference.

Once you've put the hard work in however, your charcoal BBQ will be a high reward addition to your garden. Things to look out for as you shop include the cooking area available, which should match up to the number of people you're aiming to cater to regularly. The portability of any given BBQ will also be important if you want to move it around your garden or even take it on the road with you. The quality of materials is essential if you don't want to be repurchasing a BBQ for a long time too, as well as the accessories you get included, and whether there's a place on board to store them.

Molly Cleary
Kitchen Appliances Editor

Molly is Ideal Home’s Kitchen Appliances Editor and an all-around baking and cooking enthusiast. She joined the team in September 2022 as an Ecommerce Editor after working across Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She's been reviewing products for 4 years and now specialises in weighing up kitchen essentials' pros and cons, from air fryers to bean-to-cup coffee machines. 

She's always been a keen reader, so after graduating from the University of Exeter in 2020 she was thrilled to find a way to write as a full-time job. Nowadays, she spends her days at home or the Ideal Home test facility trying out new kitchen innovations to see if they’re worth a space on your worktop. Her most beloved and hard-working appliance is her Sage coffee machine though she also takes the title of Ideal Home’s in-house air fryer expert after writing about them religiously over the past few years.

When she's not thinking or writing about kitchen appliances, she loves getting around London exploring new places, going for a dip at the Ladies’ Pond and consuming every bit of pop culture she can get her hands on.